In the aftermath of reported incidents of sexual assault on women, a cultural dialogue and action is desperately needed.
First of all it is essential to explain the essence or cause of sexual violence against women, because while we see some advances in women’s rights we also observe escalation of violence, objectification and pornification of females and that certainly cannot be viewed as irrelevant.
Girls in our liberal culture have the right and choice to drink alcohol, take drugs (as boys do), dance to popular music, but no one can guarantee that they are not going to be sexually assaulted or raped.
Drinking culture includes women, but at the same time disregards their bodily autonomy. We can state, that while it appears to be liberatory, it is also predatory.
Male sexual gratification is also assisted via culturally endorsed grooming of girls (via media, fashion and music industries) as well as coersion and persistence.
Do we even hear of cultures where women do the customary selecting and choosing of potential lovers or partners? No, in our culture the woman is more often pursued and in many cases targeted.
Falls Festival should be aware of the fact that sexual assault or rape is more likely to occur in the crowds where alcohol is consumed. My suggestion to the organisers is an introduction of female only rest spaces and a code of behaviour that stipulates sexual assault is a crime.
Long term a lot more work is needed on all levels of community, which rejects porn and sexualized entertainment. Higher accountability and punishment for assaults, violence, creation of violent and pornographic material is also needed.
Male entitlement to female bodies has to be condemned if we are to improve and eradicate male violence in social and domestic spheres.
*Joanna Pinkiewicz is a Polish born Tasmanian, who works as a teacher, artist and an interior designer. Her voluntary work includes forest and anti militarisation activism. She works with groups such as Bob Brown Foundation, Disarm and Deep Green Resistance.